Owner-operator of the Year finalist Danny Jewell still rolling after a half-century

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Updated Mar 4, 2019

Danny Jewell is one of three finalists for the 2018 Owner-Operator of the Year award, produced by the Truckload Carriers Association and Overdrive. The winner, who will receive a $25,000 cash prize, will be announced in March at TCA’s annual convention in Las Vegas. The sponsors of the Driver of the Year Contests are Love’s Travel Stops and Cummins Inc. The other two finalists are Kevin Kocmich and Robert Roth.

Danny JewellDanny Jewell

Danny Jewell, 73, has been behind the wheel of a truck since 1968. Perhaps even more impressive than those 50-plus years of driving is that they’ve all been with the same company. That’s Waterloo, Iowa-based Warren Transport, where he got his start in 1968.

Jewell, based in Nebraska City, Nebraska, has amassed more than 6 million accident-free driving miles. He thinks that would be over 7 million miles if not for the 20 years he and his wife Sharon ran team.

His career began when he drove for a couple of owner-operators leased to Warren for about four years. Then he bought his first truck in 1972 and leased with Warren.

He’s spent most of his career hauling machinery all over the United States and Canada. More recently, Jewell has moved from open decks to vans, hauling feed nutrients and supplements in the Midwest.

“This really fits into what I can keep on doing,” he says.

Jewell, who tries to upgrade trucks every few years to keep up with the latest safety technology, expects delivery of a 2020 Freightliner Cascadia Evolution in March. He’s been logging a little over 100,000 miles a year in his 2016 Cascadia.

To stay healthy, Jewell focuses on diet and exercise. He often grabs a breakfast sandwich at a truck stop, eats a sandwich in the truck for lunch, then enjoys a low-calorie dinner at night. Cottage cheese and fruit serve as snacks between meals. At truck stops, he parks away from the store and tries to walk as much as he can.

He cites his key to success as being quick to grab a load because “any day you sit is a day you lose money.” He says budgeting – and staying within that budget as much as possible – also has helped tremendously.

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Jewell’s awards most recently have included Master Driver of the Year from the Iowa Motor Truck Association. He’s also been named Warren’s Driver of the Year and has received dozens of awards from Warren for driving safely and avoiding cargo damage.

“I’ll be 74 in April, and I feel like I’m going on 40,” he says. “As long as my health stays good, I’ll keep on trucking as long as I’m not a danger out here to anybody.”

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